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Vitamin D and MS: References

van Amerongen BM, Feron F. Effect of high-dose vitamin D3 intake on ambulation, muscular pain and bone mineral density in a woman with multiple sclerosis: a 10-year longitudinal case report. Int J Mol Sci. 2012 Oct 19;13(10):13461-83.
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Mounting evidence correlate vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplementation or higher serum levels of vitamin D (25(OH)D) with a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), reduced relapse rate, slower progression or fewer new brain lesions.

We present here the case of a woman who was diagnosed with MS in 1990. From 1980 to 2000, her ability to walk decreased from ~20 to 1 km per day. Since January 2001, a vitamin D3 supplement was ingested daily. The starting dose was 20 mcg (800 IU)/day and escalated to 100 mcg (4000 IU)/day in September 2004 and then to 150 mcg (6000 IU)/day in December 2005.

Vitamin D3 intake reduced muscular pain and improved ambulation from 1 (February 2000) to 14 km/day (February 2008). Vitamin D intake over 10 years caused no adverse effects: no hypercalcaemia, nephrolithiasis or hypercalciuria were observed. Bowel problems in MS may need to be addressed as they can cause malabsorption including calcium, which may increase serum PTH and 1,25(OH)2D levels, as well as bone loss. We suggest that periodic assessment of vitamin D3, calcium and magnesium intake, bowel problems and the measurement of serum 25(OH)D, PTH, Ca levels, UCa/Cr and bone health become part of the integral management of persons with MS.

Kragt J, van Amerongen B, Killestein J, Dijkstra C, Uitdehaag B, Polman Ch, Lips P. Higher levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are associated with a lower incidence of multiple sclerosis only in women. Mult Scler. 2009 Jan;15(1):9-15. Epub 2008 Aug 13.
Department of Neurology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease with an as yet not fully understood etiological background. The geographical distribution of MS is striking with a prevalence that increases with latitude. For this reason, vitamin D deficiency is considered a possible pathogenic co-factor in MS. MATERIALS AND

To study the role of the vitamin D metabolism in MS, blood samples were taken twice (summer and winter) from 103 patients with MS and 110 healthy controls. Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D) were measured, and detailed information on disease characteristics and environmental factors that might influence the vitamin D metabolite levels was collected.

Mean serum 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)(2)D concentrations were significantly higher in summer compared to winter in both patients and controls. Using logistic regression methods, we found that in women for every 10 nmol/L increase of serum 25(OH)D level the odds of MS was reduced by 19% (odds ratio 0.81; 95% confidence interval: 0.69-0.95), suggesting a "protective" effect of higher 25(OH)D serum levels. In addition, also restricted to women, a negative correlation was found between Expanded Disability Status Scale and 25(OH)D levels (r = -0.29, P = 0.020).

Our data suggest that higher circulating levels of 25(OH)D are associated with a lower incidence of MS and MS-related disability in women. This may imply clues to the pathogenesis of the sex difference in risk and to the nature of the environmental factors involved in MS.

VanAmerongen BM, Dijkstra CD, Lips P, Polman CH. Multiple sclerosis and vitamin D: an update. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;58(8):1095-109. Review.
Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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MS is a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS), with an etiology that is not yet fully understood. The prevalence of MS is highest where environmental supplies of vitamin D are lowest. It is well recognized that the active hormonal form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)(2)D), is a natural immunoregulator with anti-inflammatory action.

The mechanism by which vitamin D nutrition is thought to influence MS involves paracrine or autocrine metabolism of 25OHD by cells expressing the enzyme 1 alpha-OHase in peripheral tissues involved in immune and neural function. Administration of the active metabolite 1,25-(OH)(2)D in mice and rats with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE, an animal model of MS) not only prevented, but also reduced disease activity. 1,25-(OH)(2)D alters dendritic cell and T-cell function and regulates macrophages in EAE.

Interestingly, 1,25-(OH)(2)D is thought to be operating on CNS constituent cells as well. Vitamin D deficiency is caused by insufficient sunlight exposure or low dietary vitamin D(3) intake. Subtle defects in vitamin D metabolism, including genetic polymorphisms related to vitamin D, might possibly be involved as well.

Optimal 25OHD serum concentrations, throughout the year, may be beneficial for patients with MS, both to obtain immune-mediated suppression of disease activity, and also to decrease disease-related complications, including increased bone resorption, fractures, and muscle weakness

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Page last edited: June 12, 2016
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